Southern Oregon Trail Skills College

Clearing logs and having fun at the 2019 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College. Photo by Mick Mc Bride.

2022 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College

The Southern Oregon Trail Skills College is a free weekend event for volunteers to learn about trail maintenance and stewardship. Beginners and experts alike can benefit from Trail Skills College courses like Intro to Trail Maintenance, Basic Saw Crew Training and more.

Trail Skills College is offered free of charge in an effort to inspire stewardship of trails. In exchange for attending the training, we encourage you to volunteer at least 16 hours of work on trail projects in the coming year.

The 2022 Southern Oregon Trail Skills College is possible thanks to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Registration will open in late May, 2022.

When is it?

July 22-24th, 2022

Where is it?

Courses will take place in the vicinity of Hyatt Lake.

How much does it cost?

Trail Skills College is free of charge.

Are meals and lodging provided?

Free camping will be provided at the Hyatt Lake Pavilion. The campground has water, bathrooms, and showers.

No meals will be offered at the 2022 event– please plan on bringing your own food and cooking supplies/equipment.

What’s the fitness level of Trail Skills College?

The fitness level of the field sessions will vary depending on the classes you select during registration. However, all participants should be prepared to hike a minimum of 1-2 miles while carrying personal gear and tools. Participants should also be prepared for the hands-on learning opportunities in many of these classes, resulting in 6 hours of active trail maintenance per day.

What classes are being offered?

In 2022, we plan to offer the following trail skills courses:

Are you interested in helping certified sawyers to clear trails, but don’t have much experience working with or around saws? Regardless of if you aim to become a certified sawyer yourself, learning to be a safety-conscience saw crew member is an important place to start. This class provides field experience with crosscut saws and axes, but most of the principles are also applicable to chainsaws. Therefore, this class is the place to start, no matter what trail clearing tools you expect to use in the future.

The session begins with an introduction to crosscut saws and axes of various types, and how they work. It then covers their safe and effective use, including a review of trail clearing specifications, safety equipment, the forces of tension and bind, and the practice of situational awareness.

This class is an introduction; it does NOT provide saw certification, which is required for those who wish to be lead sawyers.

This session covers the fundamentals of Crosscut Saw use. It focuses on hazard assessment, safety procedures, saw selection and tooth patterns, the importance of axes and wedges, and the best practices for clearing trail effectively in challenging and potentially hazardous situations. This course consists of one classroom day and one field day clearing trail. The instructor will determine the certification level. Long-sleeve shirt, pants, leather boots, eye protection, gloves and hard hats are required. Gloves and hard hats will be available for those who don’t have them. Bring a saw if you have one.  A current CPR and First Aid card are required to take Saw certification classes.

This introductory sampler class is for people new to trail work who want an overview. One quarter of the class covers “how trails work,” i.e. basic trail design concepts; one quarter covers trail work safety protocols; one quarter covers hands-on brushing and hand-saw clearing; and one quarter covers hands-on drainage cleaning. This sampler class does not prepare students to work independently. Instead, students will understand a range of trail work tasks and have a good idea of what they want to do under a crew leader, or what class they want to take next.

This course goes beyond a triage approach covered in Course 203 Water bars and checks because reconstruction indicates a more thorough restoration of damaged tread to ideal specifications. Review hillside hydrology and how trails should work. Practice systematic slough & berm removal, re-cutting sidehill tread. Learn to reconstruct tread after gullying, tread creep, nasty roots, and uprooted trees. Pre-requisites: 201 and 203, or equivalent experience.

How do I register?

Registration will open later this year, check back soon for more details.

Can’t wait?

Don’t forget, you can learn new trail maintenance skills by volunteering on a PCTA trail crew any time. Most crews don’t require any previous trail maintenance experience. Knowledgeable and experienced crew leaders are on site to teach you the necessary skills.  Visit PCTA’s online schedule to find trail projects near you.

If you have questions about Trail Skills College, contact PCTA’s Volunteer Program at 916-285-1838 or [email protected].

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